How goal-setting can ensure this year is a successful one

Regardless of how your career changed in 2020, it can always be beneficial to take some time at the start of the new calendar year to reassess and plan ahead. 

Taking the time to think about your specific goals can help you get where you want to be and keep progressing in your career.

In turn, this can lead to fulfilment and greater financial security—and who wouldn’t want that?

But despite the boons of setting goals, very few people take the time to do so. In fact, a remarkable Harvard Business study found that only 14% of people set clear goals—and those 14% are 10 ten times more successful than their goal-less peers.

Here are some tips on how you can go about setting goals that you’ll actually be able to see through this year.

Set clear, achievable goals

When it comes to setting personal goals, it’s vital that your goals are both clear and achievable.

Start by writing down the things you’d like to accomplish this year. Next, take a look at what you’ve written and be honest about which of those things are actually achievable.

Try to make your goals more achievable by breaking them down into specific, clear steps. For instance, if you hope to get a promotion by the end of the year, set incremental goals throughout the year that will help you reach your final goal.

Finally, be sure to write your goals down. Putting pen to paper will help you to feel that your goals are concrete and important, rather than a vague, passing fancy.

Use feedback as a tool

If you’re hoping to progress in your career this year, make feedback a crucial part of your goal setting. It can sometimes be hard to know what goals are actually worth pursuing unless you speak to people both inside and outside of your company to find out how you could be doing better.

Arrange interviews with people from your team, if appropriate, to ask for honest feedback about your performance over the last year. Depending on your industry, you can also look at customer feedback to determine where you should be putting your energy next year.

Take in new ideas and inspiration

Another great way to discover new goals for next is simply to learn from the experts. Make one of your goals related to taking in new ideas and inspiration.

Whether this be in the form of professional development books, relevant documentaries, industry TED Talks, or simply a good podcast, engaging with the thinkers of your industry will help you to excel. After all, the average CEO reads 60 books a year—so it must be a pretty important part of climbing the ladder!

Network, network, network

A recent study showed that 85% of positions are filled through networking. The famous saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” definitely holds true in certain cases. While your work should always speak for itself, it can be hard to take steps forward in your career if people don’t know about you.

Networking is an excellent way to learn new things about your industry, while also meeting some people that may prove useful in the future. The next time a company needs someone of your skill set, they may think of you.

Take time to assess your finances

It’s almost impossible to think about taking steps forward when your finances aren’t in order. Whether it’s personal debt, or your company is spending more than it’s bringing in, an unstable financial situation will make your goals difficult to see through.

Use the new calendar year as a chance to take some time to sort out your finances and understand where you are. If you have debts to pay, set a clear repayment plan and budget. If you are exceeding your current budget, readjust your expenditure before the new year starts.

Finally, set aside time for reflection and reassessment

For career-minded, proactive individuals, it can become easy to get obsessive about work. While it’s important to set goals and work hard to achieve them, it’s also important to set aside time for taking stock and reflecting. Give yourself at least one full day off work on a regular basis for personal hobbies and family life.

Also, set aside time within your work week to reflect on how you’re doing, think about how you can become more productive, and assess your goals. This will help you to stay on track and, most importantly, stay sane. With these tips in mind, here's to a better year ahead!

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